The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) has provided $13 million in loans to Bhutanese national airline Drukair Corporation Ltd for purchase of a new aircraft.
The loan was disbursed on Friday for procurement of Drukair ATR aircraft, following an agreement signed between the Ministry of Finance, Royal Government of Bhutan, SDF and Drukair on August 13.Documents were signed by the Finance Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, CEO of SAARC Development Fund Dr Sunil Motiwal and CEO of Drukair Corporation Ltd Tandi Wangchuk.
“SDF financing would help Drukair Corporation Limited extend aviation connectivity with Bangladesh, India and Nepal and thus, providing economic connectivity and regional integration,” said CEO of SAARC Development Fund, Dr Sunil Motiwal.
Bhutan attracts more than 254,704 regional and international tourists in a year and the ATR Financing will help in further increase these numbers.
“Trade & economics, transportation, tourism are all the focus areas under the Economic & Infrastructure Windows of SDF and this project fulfils SDF’s mandate of regional integration and collaboration through project financing,” said a press release.
The purchase of the aircraft project for Drukair Corporation Limited in Bhutan was approved by the 30th SDF board of directors meeting in December 2018.
“The project would not only help Bhutan promote its tourism sector but also ensure greater connectivity to achieve economic development in the region. Thereby, promoting the welfare and prosperity of the people in the SAARC region,” said Dr Motiwal. It also benefits in the form of trade facilitation and tourism development for Bhutan.The SAARC Development Fund, since its inception in April 2010 by the heads of the eight SAARC member states, is mandated to build regional integration and economic cooperation through project funding in all the eight SAARC member states – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat is based in Thimphu Bhutan.
Currently, SDF is implementing 87 projects (13 areas) under the social window with fund commitment of $74.49 million and two more projects are approved in principle in social sector, 5 projects under the economic and infrastructure windows (including 2 in-principle approved projects) with a fund commitment of USD 73 million and MSME Program with fund allocation of USD 50 million in SAARC member states.